Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington
George and Martha Washington welcomed thousands of guests to Mount Vernon in the more than forty years they lived here. How did Martha manage to feed so many in a world without refrigerators, microwaves or running water?
Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ kitchen through the new exhibition, Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington. On display inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum, this temporary exhibition explores how foods were prepared and presented at 18th-century Mount Vernon. Before appearing in dining rooms, crispy hoecakes, smoked hams, frozen ice creams, and other foods required the work of gardeners, housekeepers, enslaved cooks, butlers and waiters – all under Martha Washington’s careful supervision.
Following food from the Estate’s field to kitchen to table, visitors will see recipes and cookbooks that Martha treasured, pots that simmered in her kitchen, and fine tablewares that made Mount Vernon’s dining room fit for a president. For the first time ever, visitors to the Museum will experience scents as they explore the exhibition - smelling cinnamon, coffee, and warm bread. Open through August 11, 2013.
Entrance to the Donald W. Reynolds Museum is included in regular Estate admission.
On loan from the Brethren of Mt. Nebo Lodge #91, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons Shepherdstown, West Virginia
On display for one day only inside the Donald W. Reynolds Education Center, this Masonic apron was made in France and is believed to have been presented to George Washington at Mount Vernon in 1784 by the Marquis de Lafayette, a former general and close friend of Washington’s who was also a Freemason. The apron features compasses and square – central Masonic symbols – together with the crossed flags of the United States and France, all exquisitely embroidered in silk and gold- and silver-wrapped threads with metallic sequins. Washington would have worn this apron when attending Masonic meetings, and Freemasons still wear similar aprons when they meet today. Aprons are the badge of a Freemason.
For more than 100 years, this apron could only be seen within the walls of the Mt. Nebo Lodge, where generations of local Freemasons treasured the fragile relic. Recognizing its significant history, Lodge members brought it to Mount Vernon in 2009 for conservation and exhibition.
Chef Walter Staib of Philadelphia's City Tavern and Emmy award-winning host of PBS’s "A Taste of History" will sign books and DVDs in The Shops at Mount Vernon from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visitors to the new Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington exhibition can watch an eight-minute video in which the award-winning chef prepares a sturgeon in Mount Vernon's kitchen.